The repeal of the Sherman Act did not relieve the Treasury of its embarrassment nor provide a remedy for the currency ills. The gold reserve of the Treasury continued to decline until it had reached $65,-000,000 in January, 1894. President Cleveland tried to get legislation authorizing the issue of bonds to replenish the gold reserve. Failing in this the Government was compelled to fall back upon the Resumption Act of 1875, which provided for the sale of bonds to redeem the legal tender notes. Though two bond issues of $50,000,000 each, paying 5 per cent, were made in 1894, they brought only temporary relief, the gold paid for the bonds being drawn from the Treasury in advance or later by the presentation of greenbacks for redemption. Within a few weeks following the second loan, $80,000,000 was drawn from the Treasury in gold. People had begun to doubt the ability of the Government to maintain its credit.
In this emergency President Cleveland made an arrangement with a syndicate of New York bankers to provide the Treasury with gold to the amount of $65,000,000, at least one-half of which was to be imported from Europe, and the syndicate agreed to do all in its power to protect the gold reserve in the Treasury. The gold was to be purchased with 4 per cent thirty-year bonds at 104 1/2, at which rate the interest would be about 3 3/4 per cent. The syndicate proposed to accept the bonds on a 3 per cent basis if they were made payable in gold. This would have effected a saving to the Government of over $16,000,000 in interest, but Congress, being out of sympathy with the President, rejected the proposition. Because of its strong foreign connections the syndicate was able to prevent withdrawals of gold from the Treasury for several months, and the gold reserve rose above $100,000,000. After the syndicate's contract had expired, however, withdrawals of gold began again and by the close of the year 1895 the treasury reserve had fallen below $50,000,000. On January 6, 1896, the Treasury announced a new issue of 4 per cent 30-year bonds to be offered at public subscriptions to the highest bidder. The $100,000,000 loan was largely oversubscribed at bids ranging from 110 5/8 to 120, and within a few weeks the Treasury reserve rose above $128,000,000.1 Though gold exports continued for some months longer, reducing the reserve to $90,000,000 in July, 1896, the success of the loan did much to restore public confidence, and after the decisive victory of the gold standard party in the elections that year the Treasury experienced no further trouble in maintaining an adequate reserve.
During the period, 1893-1896, in which the Government was struggling to maintain adequate gold reserves, factionalism prevented all attempts to reform the currency system. President Cleveland had recommended the retirement of the greenbacks and the Sherman notes to relieve the Treasury from the obligation of maintaining a gold reserve for their retirement, but Congress sullenly refused to take any action. Meantime the agitation for the free and unlimited coinage of silver was kept up and became the sole issue in the presidential contest of 1896. This election resulted in a victory for the champions of the gold standard and plans were at once formed to safeguard it for all time. In 1897 a convention of business men representing the leading commercial organizations of the country met in Indianapolis and formulated a plan of currency and coinage reform which was presented to Congress. After several years of public discussion and agitation, Congress enacted the so-called "Gold Standard Act," March 14, 1900, which formally and definitely recognized the single gold standard.